Thanks to EU legislation, search giant Google has been forced to censor awkward facts from its European search results. A few days ago I received a notice of de-linking of a page on this site and given the chilling implications, I thought it worth sharing.
In March 2014, with the help of amazing Sun journalist @LouiseMensch, I wrote an exposé of a British activist called Peter Tatchell. It is still on this site, entitled, “Peter Tatchell – Sex Brought ‘Great Joy’. To 9 Year Olds”. Tatchell is well known in Britain as a human rights activist but back in the mid 1980s he contributed to a book called “The Betrayal of Youth” (perhaps not coincidentally, “Betrayal of Youth”, stands for ‘Boy’). He had also written a letter to the Guardian newspaper (which they had published) in which he appeared to say that sex with adults had brought some nine-year-olds, ‘great joy’.
Several of the contributors to the book were avowed paedophiles. For example the editor of the book was Warren Middleton (also known as John Parratt), now a convicted paedophile (archive here). At his trial in 2011, the prosecutor told the court that Middleton was part of a group of paedophiles who would meet up to look at illegal images of underage boys. Found at the home Middleton shared with another paedophile were three discs containing over 5,000 images. Perhaps there may be some connection between Middleton’s interests and the title of the book.
The book was written in pure text, without any pictures, even drawings. This means that whilst revolting, it can legally be possessed and published in United Kingdom and United States Law. Legal or not, neither I nor other journalists will publish the book as a whole. However, both this site and Christian Voice have published damning extracts. (archive of Christian Voice article here).
The thrust of the book was that the age of consent should be abolished entirely. The first sentence on the back cover, for example, is, “Ages of consent are completely useless.” It is a theme that pervades the book. Children, were to be ‘liberated’ from ‘oppression’.
Obviously, the book’s theme is a horrifying one. To abolish the age of consent entirely. Not merely to reduce it, to (say) 15 or 14 or 8 or even 3. To abolish it.
Tatchell claims his chapter, entitled, “Questioning Ages of Majority and Ages of Consent”, was merely questioning the idea. To ensure journalistic fairness, I published his right of reply in full at the bottom of my 2014 article. I note that Peter Tatchell has never been charged or convicted with any paedophile offence and it is not asserted here that he is a paedophile. Tatchell’s explanation is (in summary) that when he agreed to contribute he did not know that the editor and many of the other contributors were paedophiles, the title of the book, nor the content of the other chapters. Tatchell still advocated lowering the age of consent to 14.
One oft-quoted sentence from Tatchell’s chapter is this, “What purpose does it [the age of majority] serve other than reinforcing a set of increasingly quaint, minority moral values left over from the Victorian era?”
The chapter immediately after Tatchell’s is entitled, “Ends and Means: How to Make Paedophilia Acceptable … ?” It was written by Roger Moody and opens with a description of two 8-year olds engaged in sexual activity. Again, as it is only text they were able to avoid prosecution.
In my article I linked to a 4 page extract that included the whole of Tatchell’s chapter, as well as the table of contents and (for context) a couple of the pages following on. That link can be found near the bottom of my earlier article here.
On 09/01/2016 I received a notice from Google that, under the new European Union ‘Right to be Forgotten’, someone wants that hidden. This is the body of the email I received from Google –
The only thing being removed from search results is the file containing the extracts from “Betrayal of Youth”. Now, under the ‘right to be forgotten’ the only people who can have data, ‘forgotten’ by Google search are those identified in it. So whoever made this request is named in the book extract.
That does not necessarily mean Tatchell. Whilst most of the file is his chapter of the book, the article itself is not being removed so it suggests that one of the book’s other contributors may have made the request. Many people are identified as contributors in the brief extract.
Of course many of the people who could have made the request are creepy PIE sympathisers or enthusiastic, unrepentant paedophiles. It strikes me that there is an issue here of the balance between free speech on the one hand and the rights of the individual on the other and I am not sure in this case that it has been struck correctly.
On the other hand, the “Right to be Forgotten” is an interesting area of law. Google itself is a data controller. This means that even if a newspaper, a website or a blocking database has its data outside the EU, when data passes into Google’s control it falls under EU data protection law. This might be of use to those who feel wronged by (for example) blocking databases. Even if they cannot directly affect those who control the publication or the database they may be able to remove it entirely from Google results in the European Union.